How to Write an Appeal Letter to a School

Some college students don't realize the importance of studying.

Not everyone's college career goes perfectly; the expectations in college are very different than what they were in high school. For example, many students have difficulty adjusting to the fact that they must actually study to do well in their classes. Other students relish their freedom a little too much and don't attend classes as much as they should. Whatever the cause, many students end up failing during their first year of school. If this happens to you, you will have to write an appeal letter to the school and ask to be reinstated.

Type your address. Skip a line and type the full date. Skip an additional line and type the name of the admissions department, the university name and the address of the admissions department. Skip another line.

Type "Dear Sir or Madam" followed by a colon. If the school is small, you can call and request the name of the person who handles the appeals and address it to him. Larger schools typically have several people who handle appeals, so you may have to use the general salutation.

Begin the letter by stating that you are appealing your academic expulsion. Provide your name and your student ID and identify the year or semester in which you were expelled.

Explain how your circumstances have changed. You must demonstrate that the problems that led to failing will not recur. For example, if you have a chronic illness that resulted in missing a lot of class, you could explain how your condition has improved and you could provide documentation, such as medical records, that demonstrate that you had an illness. Alternately, if personal troubles were the cause of missing a lot of classes, you could explain how since the expulsion these problems have resolved and you are now prepared to devote your whole attention to your studies.

Thank the clerk for his time. Give your current telephone number and email address so he can contact you.

Create the closing by typing "Sincerely," skip three lines, and type your full name. Print the letter and sign above your typed name.

Make a copy of the letter for your records. Send the original with signature confirmation so that you have proof that the office received the letter.

  • During your college career, other appeals also may become necessary, such as appealing a grade or appealing a cancellation of financial aid. The process of writing an appeal for these situations is similar to appealing an expulsion in that these letters are also persuasive and require that you convince an administrator that your situation has changed or that you deserve a better grade.

Natalie Smith is a technical writing professor specializing in medical writing localization and food writing. Her work has been published in technical journals, on several prominent cooking and nutrition websites, as well as books and conference proceedings. Smith has won two international research awards for her scholarship in intercultural medical writing, and holds a PhD in technical communication and rhetoric.